Sunday, 13 June 2021

Finding Mr. Right by YA Author Leigh Goff...



How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you. 

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing. 

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you're ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone. 

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix. 

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat. 

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing. 

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.


As Koush Hollow is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. Here's a little to intrigue you.
Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters... is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

 Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. 

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

What Writers Can Learn from Practicing Wu Wei…


I have to be honest. I haven’t been writing fresh content for my blog lately. I can blame Covid-19. I can blame not feeling like it. I can blame laziness. Truth is, after the world closed up for a few months in 2020, I found that I was burned out. Disenchanted with my publishing career came a close second (a.k.a. overworked and underpaid). So I knew it was time for a reevaluation. This put everything into perspective for me, and has taught me how to relax and be calm. One major lesson I learned during the pandemic was to embrace the concept of Wu Wei. In its purest meaning, Wu Wei reminds us to align with the present, and accept the flow and course of nature. Simply put, ‘go with the flow’. Easy said. Not so easy done.

Wu Wei means—in Chinese—non-doing or ‘doing nothing’. It sounds like a pleasant invitation to relax or worse, fall into laziness or apathy. Yet this concept is key to the noblest kind of action according to the philosophy of Daoism—and is at the heart of what it means to follow Dao or The Way. According to the central text of Daoism, the Dao De Jing: ‘The Way never acts yet nothing is left undone’. Huh? How’s that possible when it comes to writing your magnum opus? Or even your mini opus? This is the paradox of Wu Wei. It doesn’t mean not acting, it means ‘effortless action’ or ‘actionless action’. It means being at peace while engaged in the most frenetic tasks (insert anything creative here) so that one can carry these out with maximum skill and efficiency. Ever heard of being ‘in the zone’? That’s Wu Wei. Being at one with what we are doing, in a state of profound concentration and flow. Got it?

The hustle and bustle of the pre-Covid-19 world was getting to me. Too scheduled (my fault). Too many plans and not enough time to enforce them (also my fault). Too much pressure to be the perfect author/writer (more of a wake-up call). Too much ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. So when the world stopped in March 2020, so did I. What a breath of fresh air! No commitments. No obligations. Just a pause, a break, a respite. That’s when I found that Wu Wei was the prescription that I (and I believe the world) needed so desperately.

You can find evidence of Wu Wei everywhere in nature: in the tree that bends in the wind, then adjusts itself back into its original shape, and in a flowing stream—submissive and weak—until the water has gradually eroded the rocks to cut a path. Wu Wei involves letting go of ideals that we may otherwise try to force too violently onto things (or ourselves), and invites us instead to respond to the true demands of situations, which tend only to be noticed when we put our own ego-driven plans aside. What can follow is a loss of self-consciousness, a new unity between the self and its environment, which releases an energy that is normally held back by an aggressive, willful style of thinking. Try writing when anxiety is knocking at the door or you’re pushing against deadlines or the demands of the day. Doesn’t work, does it?

A good life could not be attained by Wu Wei alone—but this Daoist concept captures a distinctive wisdom we may be in desperate need of, especially in these post pandemic times. We are in danger of damaging ourselves through old patterns and belief systems that do not serve us anymore. Change is happening at a fast rate, and writers need to adapt if they want to survive in the publishing world. So the next time you find yourself staring at a blank page or screen, get up and go for a walk or make some tea. That way you’ll be swimming with the current of creativity, instead of wallowing in a pool of despair.

Have you heard of Wu Wei? If so, do you mindfully practice it? If not, are you willing to give it a try? Trust me, this concept will change your life. Either way, I’d love you to share your comments. Cheers, and thanks so much for reading my blog!